The ANC culture and its affects

20 04 2008

By Syanda Ngcobo

I thought I was going to write about the crises facing African leaders, but something else came to mind after I went to South African Students Congress Organisation’s (SASCO) branch general meeting at Rhodes University. What I found there was similar to what I’ve seen at the ANC 52, Conference in Polokwane and what recently happened in the ANC Youth League in Bloemfontein. What I’ve seen is a disaster which needs special attention.

Members show no discipline and are uncontrollabe. There was no order at all. I was shocked and surprised when I arrived at meeting. One of the “comrades” asked me at door “who I came to vote for”. But I said I don’t know, because had no idea that there will be elections for Branch Executive Committee (BEC). Inside the house was chaos and I started to see different camps among the organisation.

But what came into my attention is that, there’s a problem within the culture of the ANC. In Polokwane we have saw division among members. There was a Zuma and an Mbeki camp. All these groups are found in one organisation and have similar goals, but differ in terms of how they are going to pursue these goals. In Bloemfontein we have seen separation among the members. There was a Julius Malemela and a Saki Mafokeng camp. This does show that these organisations are democratic, but the problem arrises when these camps continue to exist even after the conference. This culture  is not a new phenomenon, but started long time ago. I can argue that it is embedded in the organisations. For example one can trace it back from the Mandela generation. Mandela and his camp also did a similar thing in a conference, they disrupt the conference.

When time goes on you start to realise that these camps are not healthy for the organisation. You will find some people criticising so and so, not just because he/she is not doing his work, but just because he/she is from a rival camp. I think comrades must learn to understand that if you have been defeated in a democratic vote, you have to accept the winner as the leader. And the person who wins is going to be governed by the organisation policies. You find some individuals or groups who came into these meetings with their own agendas, opposing everything. Like SASCO, here at Rhodes you will find some people who push their agenda. They don’t want to admit the fact that their agenda or views have been turned down by the house.

The last thing which disturbs SASCO at Rhodes is that they allow more interference of the regional branch committee. I’m saying this because these people always come here and tell the Rhodes Branch what to do and what not to do. These people don’t even understand the problems that are facing this organisation. I think their duty is to check whether SASCO at Rhodes is aligning with the constitution of SASCO or not. These people are irritating sometimes. They make up their own constitutions. I think SASCO at Rhodes should start to define their problems; “hhayi” not allowing the outsiders to play such a large role because they are the ones who bring confusion to the organisation. 
 

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19 responses

20 04 2008
Ghazala Khan

Dear , thanks a lot for your consent. Here are the questions for the interview. Please also send us a brief bio of yourself, url of your site, and if you want us to publish your pic, avatar or log, please also send it along. Please send the answers at your earliest convenience.

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How bloggers can benefit from blogs financially?

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What are your future plans?

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regards,
Ghazala Khan
The Pakistani Spectator
http://www.pakspectator.com

21 04 2008
Mzoxolo Budaza

Mr Ngcobo, I agree there are serious problems with the ANC these days. But as someone who has watched the ANC closely for years I have to disagree with most of your views. You say: “Mandela and his camp also did a similar thing in a conference, they disrupt the conference.” I thought you were going to explain which conference he and his “camp” disrupted. What I know is that the when he was elected as the ANC president (before 1994 elections) he had no opposition—which means he was the only candidate running for the presidency. I don’t remember anyone who opposed his election (so you can’t justify your point of camps and divisions there). You also say that the divisions are embeded in the culture of the ANC. NO WAY! For me this division thing is very new. In the olden days, ANC members were always united behind one course, to liberate the people of this country. As far as I see this division thing came as a result of opportunities to be in government. ANC veterans have warned that we have to be careful of people who join the party as a short cut to reaches. That’s exactly what we see today. It seems as if people want to put their cronies in power (whether they are competent or not) so that they can in turn be rewarded with top positions. So, I completely don’t think that these divisions are embeded in the culture of the ANC. You can look deep into the history of the organisation and you will never see anything close what is happening in the “new millenium”.

21 04 2008
MK

The division is between two ethnic groups, Xhosas want a Xhosa person to rule until the so called ‘jesus’ comes back and the Zulus want a change as they are the largest ethnic group in Africa. I agree with Mzo, Mageba you are still young for politics, so you need to familiarise yourself with South African politics.

Sasco needs more whites, Indians and coloureds, this is the only way Sasco can be united!

22 04 2008
Jazzman

What I read deep in your comment is tribalism MK, please man do are way with that, it is dangerous for you and those that are around you., As a university student I thought you were clever enough to know that tribalism ( especially tribal rooted statements) is bad for South Africa. You say that Mageba is too young for politics, what I see is that you are too blind to see that Mageba is raising issues of concern here. Moving on, Mageba is right that there are divisions in SASCO, but the most important thing he must take note is that these divisions are not because of a clash in political believes or ideologies individuals support, but are of other nature which is different from that of the ANC. There are those individuals who want to develop SASCO for the sake of developing it and there are those who want to develop it for the sake of make their CV’s look good. There divisions are because of this. As members of SACO we cannot tolerate such thing. Some people enter executive positions of SASCO for bad reasons, that is way we are at grassroots lobbying for the exclusion of such comrades in the Executive Committee. Some members think that having a position in Rhodes SASCO is an entitlement; this is a political organisation not church congregation. Members of SASCO should be specific if they want change is student’s lives or they want change in their lives. A fellow comrade once said that it is better when looking for work if you have been a member or chairman of a political organisation. That is wrong comrade, and that should be eliminated. Some people have not been active in politics at all now they join SASCO with the intention of being put in government post when they got their degrees. You can see some comrades in SASCO don’t even like politics are in SASCO for the sake of securing a government job in future. SASCO is not a place where people want to make their CV’s beautiful for government jobs or their political careers. Divisions in SASCO are caused by those who are against political careerism there.

22 04 2008
Mk

Jazzman, I have failed to confirm the existence of this word ‘Tribalism’, but — hey — I love people who are creative with language, so I will grant this educated correspondent in question Jazz) his poetic licence. I don’t think being a Xhosa person and supporting a Xhosa leader is tribalism depending on how you interprete tribalism.

In terms of Sasco, I salute you for your person opinion, but I disagree with you when you claim that people in the commitee are there for government jobs in future. This is rubbish! The divisions were caused by the fact that students wanted change and some individuals wanted ‘the Rhodes University Thabo Mbeki’ to continue. Hope you understand what I’m trying to say Jazzman. Division is caused by ‘conflict of interests’.

22 04 2008
Lungisa Seplani

I would like to comment on the issue of SASCO at Rhodes, SASCO is really disappointing. During our BGM we agreed upon as the house that we must not dissolve the existing branch executive committee, we should just vote for the vacant positions. There were certain individuals whom we have defeated by votes, who argued that there was an issue of paper which was circulating during the last year elections. I did not see any relevance for such a comment because these individuals failed to challenge the issue last year, we as the members we were happy with our branch leaders whom we have elected to lead our organisation. What is now disappointing is that some of the people who were against the existing branch executive committee are the ones who are in leadership, which means that the whole issue of the paper was just a coup, this shows us that SASCO is not united at all, If we as SASCO we are adopting the ill discipline culture of the ANC Youth League we are not going to be able to accomplish our vision as SASCO at Rhodes

22 04 2008
Diphapang Mofokeng

Firstly i think Msolozi (Mapholoba, Syanda) must be acknowledged for taking his time (already a scarce resource) to write this article.Whether one agrees with it can be put up for a debate. However, one must also acknowledge all those who have taken it upon themselves to respond to Syanda Hypolite Ngcobo.

Syanda writes “What I’ve seen is a disaster which needs special attention” but does not share with us the disaster he has seen that which is similar to the one he saw in Limpopo and Mangaung (he is implicitly suggesting that comrades were drunk and showing off their private parts as this is the behaviour that was shown at mangaung and that comrades were bought as voting foder).

He further suggests “Members show no discipline and are uncontrollabe”.To me the fact that students were raising points of oders means that they were not happy with the manner in which the AGM was officiated and this must not be viewed as a sign of lack of discipline.We must check what caused that. Also those who have gone to successful AGM’s and Congresses would know that our AGM was no different.I understand that some comrades do not like being questioned and when they are questioned they say that comrades are ill disciplined and so on and so forth.In a political formation views are not cast in stone and therefore can be challenged by being tested in plennary. So there’s nothing ill disciplined about points of orders.

I would also like to know who asked you who you are going to vote for as anyone can make that allegation.So it does not hold up until you have come out to say who that is.The reason for this is to ensure that we root out from the organisation that which is bad, ugly,uncomradely and UnSASCO.

Mageba also suggests that there were camps in the meeting and personally i did not see any of that manifesting.There is ALSO no problem with the culture of the ANC but there is definitely a problem of ill discipline among comrades.Yes some of the elements we saw in polokwane were unheard of in the ANC. Those are the distructive elements that the SG adddressed in the organisational report but that can not be said to be a defining feature of the ANC.

I also agree with Papa G (Mzo) that you must also state which conference mandela and his ‘camp’ disrupted.You also said some people did not respect the views of the majority.which majority and which views because political considerations can not be made by show of hands.You must deliberate as to what consideration shud be made and under no circumstances should we be forces to adopt a holus bolus approach.That is dangerous

You also say “The last thing which disturbs SASCO at Rhodes is that they allow more interference of the regional branch committee”.There’s nothing like that.It has always been a culture of the movement that higher structures would officiate gatherings of the branches to ensure that they abide by the constitution and that they do not deviate from the culture of the organisation.I think in some circumstances higher structures provide guidance to branches and in this regard you are highly economical of the truth. The reality is that truth ‘…is a stubborn phenomenon whose eyes stare at those who hate it’.It is also wrong to describe higher structures as outsiders.In fact they are very much insiders.they are integral part of the movement.SASCO is a unitary movement.

I pause till it comes back to me

22 04 2008
Mzo

Siyabonga Ka-Phindile Yonzi is the future president of the country … watch this space. To the left … to the left

22 04 2008
Mzo

Diphapang… I’m not Papa G, I’m Mzoxolo

23 04 2008
Diphapang

The person who wrote the 2 comments above pretends to be Mzo and we know who he is.You are not Mzo.Pls identify yourself.

23 04 2008
Diphapang

Just to also let you know. SASCO has a new blog where everyone is welcome to express their views. The url address is:

http://sasco.blat.co.za

24 04 2008
Zandise Mrhali

Combrades in responce to the issue of division, I would like to emphasize that we are sasco members at rhodes not on the national level, therefore I don’t see the point talking about issues of polokwane when we can not solve the issues that are facing students at RU such as academic exclusion, financial aid, apatheid and BEE.

to respond to the issue of AGM we had, I personally think that for any political meeting there should be defferent views coming from the flow, perharps agree that there were some lack of discipline in some members but you can not conclude from those minor misunderstanding that in sasco at rhodes there is a division. ( you need to consoder factors like growth in terms of membership and improvement in terms of service, hence a divided group of people can not achieve those goals)

24 04 2008
Azania

I hear that black journalism students at Rhodes have decided to establish the Forum of Black Journalism students (FBJ). Those I talked to told me that they feel like outsiders in their practicals because they simply feel that they are in a place where they don’t belong, they decided to have a forum where they will share their experiences and other things. So as far as I see it, the Forum was not created for “black journalism students” as such, but rather by– and for– township (yes that word) journalism students. Anyway, this is my take from talking to 3rd year Journalism students from Rhodes and it is a really worrying thing. What is really worrying is that these guys ( all of them are males) are starting to get hostile to other people. Everywhere they go, they are walking as a gang of some sort. The way I see it may be wrong but I stand to be corrected.

24 04 2008
Mzo Budaza

Azania, you are making scary remarks here. As a third year journalism student at Rhodes, I can’t ignore your comment above. In case you don’t know, this group is not exclusive to certain people. I am a member of the group “Forum of Black Journalists” not a “Forum of Black Journalism Students”. You say these students feel like outsiders in their practicals because they think they don’t belong there. I don’t think that is true. You also don’t tell us who these people are. You also say they are a gangster. Yhoo! It’s hectic. My problem is that all male 3rd year students (from the township) I know—Azwi Mufamadi, Mk Mdlhuli, Syanda Ngcobo, Lubabalo Dada, Asanda Ntame (myself included)—don’t see themselves as outsiders at university. Yes, wherever we go we travel as a group but that doesn’t mean we are hostile to other people. It’s because we understand each other very well. But that doesn’t mean we don’t socialise with other people. Your views would have made better sense if you provided your real name. You are anonymously raise serious issues here. Please AZANIA mind your own business and leave us alone, or are you one of those thing who believe that the behaviour of township students is abnormal? Next time you see us walking as a group just go hang yourself because we are not going to change the way we do things, not anytime soon.

24 04 2008
lubabalo

Azainia, you really miss the point. This article we are commenting on is about SASCO not the Forum of Balck Journalists. What you talk abt has nothing to do with SASCO.

I do not know where you got your “facts” about FBJ though, because you are talking nonsense. If you really want to know about FBJ speak to Hangwi, he is more than willing to explain about it.This forum is not for township guys- there are females/ladies/amantombazana/women- and not everyone who joined that forum is from township. And if you have a problem with FBJ why don’t you start your own forum ( a forum of those who have a problem with FBJ).

24 04 2008
Jazzman

What is really your problem Azania or should I say coward because all people who speak on anonymity are cowards. I don’t know if you are she or he or both, I don’t even know if you are black, white, coloured, Indian or all, but I sure know that what you are saying is totally rubbish. I think you misread the fact that black journalism forum is a forum for black journalism which tries to make-up or reconcile within its self the discriminatory actions which were taken against it during apartheid. It also seeks to address the situation in our media organisations because most of them are predominantly white owned, whereas junior staff is black. We are trying to ask, why are we not being put in senior positions?

The problem with you is that you don’t even know where you fit in and think that FBJ will discriminate against you, yes we will if you don’t know if you are black or white, cause the Forum is not for zombies UNDERSTAND.

24 04 2008
Syanda

I’m writing this comment after I read your concern about Forum of Black Journalism, Black by Popular Demand. I think you are not well informed about the aim of forum. And I also wonder who told you that people who established or who are members of the forum feel excluded in practicals. Do, they feel excluded in terms of what, you confused me. As Lubabalo and Mzoxolo said it not about black township male as you think but what you don’t know is that we have ladies ( and surprisingly enough, there are not coming from the township.
You also confused me when you said we always walk together as gangsters. I do not know who taught you that such a thing (when you see 2 or more black people walking together are gangsters). The reason why you always see us together is because we are not driven by the spirit of individualism like you. We like to walk together and talk as brothers. What can I say to you, why not starting your own group as well, “thina” we won’t even get scared if we see you with your group. Because we do not care who you associate with and whose not it’s your choice and its your life more than anything. To remind you we are living in a free society whereby you can choose who to associate with and… you have wrong information do your research again.

24 04 2008
Simthembile

What i believe in is that every problem has a solution. This is why I will introduce you to a term called “CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISIM” This means if you see a problem you do not just criticise for the sake of criticisim. Comdres i’ve noticed this problem and i think it needs to be addressed that is what you suppose to be doing.

Do not get me wrong, i’m not saying there is no division or there is a division. It will be very important if you come with some suggestions as what should be done, then you will be talking.

Lastly, i was not at the AGM, but i’ll say this if there are any division in the organisation as you say, it will work on your adavantage and SASCO’s advantage if you raise those issues.

In that way we can be able to focus to the issues that concerned students who are being excluded day and night in this University. I agree with you, a political organisation must have diferences at some stage…

As to what happened in the ANCYL and ANC conference i’ll rather not comment untill we resolve our issues here first..

24 04 2008
Proffesor MC( head of Journalism, erhini)

jesus, christ, the king the shadow, the picture, help Azania. Whose this Azania now, where r u from, u need to do ur research first b4 u write and pliz don’t tell me u do Journalism. go and check Forum of black Journalist on Facebook and tell me what is it all about and count how many males and females members are there, here is the website in case u don’t http://www.facebook. com. About being sided in practicals I don’t know anything about that, name these students u talked with. sharing our experiences of practicals how is that going to help. we have classreps. walking in groups does not make people gangsters. if the guys were females, that was going to be okay to u. u just contradicting urself, u say what u heard and then again u say these guys are always walking together, as if u observing them.

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